Good news, Silicon Valley viewers who were traumatized by the horse-head scene from "Godfather II." You now have a new horse-related pop-culture moment to be traumatized by!
Ahem. Now that I’ve finally managed to undig my fingers from my eye sockets, it’s time for our re/cap of HBO’s "Silicon Valley," the insider sitcom that’s so on the nose, it might as well be a giant funny zit.
This week, the show covered three issues that are, for real, at the center of techie cultural life here in the San Francisco Bay Area. How well did they cover these issues? Predictably, ludicrously well.
Everyone here can relate a story about (a) having the landlord raise the price on a rental during the open house, since 60 people showed up with resumes and credit scores in hand; (b) bidding a stupid amount over the asking price on a bungalow in Oakland and getting out-bid by someone offering $100,000 more in an all-cash offer; (c) losing their best local friends because they got ousted from their rentals and moved to Austin; (d) bleeding teachers from their local school because landlords got dollar signs in their eyes.*
The culprit, experts say, is the tech bubble: When local techies flood the real estate market, the market will suddenly sprout astronomical prices. With no checks in place to protect low-income families (in this context, low income is under $85,000 for a family of four in Santa Clara county), anyone not earning sick-ass tech dollars is at risk.
So when Jared finds himself unable to return to his condo because the short-term renter he installed there to cover the mortgage refuses to leave on the grounds that he can’t live in the area without squatting, well — that was utterly plausible.
Algorithms n’ blues
Meanwhile, back at Hooli, the Nucleus team — which was just ousted in a giant layoff — has cracked the middle-out algorithm while trying to carry out Gavin Belson’s order to scrub the search engine of his negative mentions without appearing to do so.
Wasn’t this tactic — getting techies to goose search results without actually changing the algorithm — also on Netflix’s "House of Cards"? Our Google reporter only just started watching the third season so he’s not up to that part yet — any experts in our audience want to weigh in on the two different ways these fictitious megalomaniacs try to control search engines?
In addition, I am trying to determine whether there’s any point to the Hooli employees who just cracked Pied Piper’s algorithm trying to take it elsewhere. You can’t, apparently, copyright an algorithm — that is, you can patent it, but if someone comes up with it themselves, it looks like they can use it without running afoul of the law. I’m not sure how much trouble these awful douchebags can really make for our own beloved douchebags.
Olds v. millennials
Much is made of Jack Barker’s status as an O.G. during the current, youngster-driven tech boom. Who is this character, so eloquently portrayed by the delightful Stephen Toblowsky, whose Twitter feed is littered with delicious nuggets of behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt? Is he a wise Yoda whose ability to pronounce Aviato draws founders to him like moths to a flame? Is he an unbearable jargon-generator who can’t function without his own trademarked version of SWOT?
The question of whether olds belong in the current Silicon Valley bubble is the subject of much liver-spotted hand-wringing. Barker, though, has been through the bursting of a bubble and wants to get out with as much cash as possible. Is that wrong? Are his younger engineers more idealistic or just dumber?
Will he really destroy the algorithm to boost sales? Is that really bad? The same discussion is played out in conference rooms across the South Bay.
We have our thoughts on all this, but we’re not putting all our eggs in the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow basket. See you next week, nerds. We’re going to have something spesh for you.
Good re/cap? Or re/crap? Hit me on Twitter with your views, thoughts and insights. The show airs Sunday nights at 10 pm on HBO, so check back here for more re/caps.
* Bonus: All four of these happened to me.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.